Civil Liberties News Stories
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
Links are provided to the full stories on their mainstream media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here
. These civil liberties news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. For the same list by order of importance, click here
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This comprehensive list of civil liberties news stories is usually updated once a week
. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here
Excesses cross party lines
2012-03-07, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-03-13 16:40:13
Attorney General Eric Holder thinks it's legal to kill American terrorism suspects overseas without any judicial review or public notice. It's an astonishing claim to make and a shameful stand for the Obama administration, which came to office pledging to curb such constitutionally shaky excesses. In a speech, Holder essentially offer the "trust us" argument in defense of targeted killings. The guidelines are murky: The military will compile a list of dangerous terrorists including U.S. citizens, hunt them down, and if the host country can't or won't catch the suspect, then the United States will. The example at issue is last year's drone attack that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader. Under Holder's ground rules there is no outside review, court deliberation or explanation of how a suspect makes the kill list. For those critics concerned about oversight or legal caution, he offered this observation: " 'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process." Holder didn't cite an in-house legal opinion used to justify the policy, which he's refused to release and is the subject of a civil liberties lawsuit. Obama still hasn't closed the Guantanamo Bay gulag as promised. Now he's shielding targeted killings from genuine review. This presidential subversion of rule of law was unacceptable under George W. Bush, and it is unacceptable under Barack Obama.
Note: Attorney General Holder's claim that US citizens can be killed by the government without judicial process clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights. In addition to the Fifth Amendment that states that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," the Sixth Amendment states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial."
Feinstein detainee bill for citizens, residents
2012-03-01, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-03-06 08:43:36
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said [on February 29] that her legislation to roll back an antiterror law, which allows the military to indefinitely detain people in the United States suspected of ties to al Qaeda or "associated forces," would have to be limited to citizens and permanent legal residents. Her bill, the Due Process Guarantee Act, ... would ensure that the detainee portions of last year's National Defense Authorization Act, or any declaration of war or congressional authorization to use military force, would not allow the military to imprison without trial citizens and green card holders living in the United States. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove (Sacramento County) has introduced a companion bill in the House. The detainee provisions of the law ... have generated a rare combination of outrage from liberals and conservatives who say it violates constitutional liberties and habeas corpus rights that provide an individual redress to unlawful imprisonment by the state. Civil liberties groups have argued that the Constitution's Bill of Rights extends to all people, regardless of their citizenship. Noncitizens include tourists, students and business travelers as well as illegal immigrants. Feinstein said including noncitizens in her bill is not politically feasible. Feinstein described her bill as a follow-on to the 1971 Non-Detention Act, a response to the Japanese internment that was signed by former President Richard Nixon. The act bars imprisonment of citizens suspected of sabotage without explicit congressional approval.
Note: The NDAA clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights, which clearly states in the fifth amendment that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," and in the sixth amendment which states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." It is simply amazing that the American public is not loudly protesting this breach of the constitution.
Interpol accused after Malaysia arrests journalist over Muhammad tweet
2012-02-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-02-28 10:24:29
Interpol has been accused of abusing its powers after Saudi Arabia allegedly used the organisation's red notice system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained at the airport "following a request made to us by Interpol" the international police cooperation agency, on behalf of the Saudi authorities. Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you … I will not pray for you." Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for him to be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death. Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country. Kashgari's detention has triggered criticism by human rights groups of Malaysia's decision to arrest the journalist and of Interpol's cooperation in the process. Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said: "If an Interpol red notice is the reason for [Kashgari's] arrest and detention it would be a serious abuse of this powerful international body that is supposed to respect basic human rights (including to peaceful free speech) and to be barred from any involvement in religious or political cases."
Drones Set Sights on U.S. Skies
2012-02-18, New York Times
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:23:26
A new federal law, signed by the president on [February 14], compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Some questions likely to come up: Can a drone flying over a house pick up heat from a lamp used to grow marijuana inside, or take pictures from outside someone’s third-floor fire escape? Can images taken from a drone be sold to a third party, and how long can they be kept? The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups are calling for new protections against what the A.C.L.U. has said could be “routine aerial surveillance of American life.”
The new law, part of a broader financing bill for the F.A.A., came after intense lobbying by drone makers and potential customers. These manufacturers have been awaiting lucrative new opportunities at home. The market for drones is valued at $5.9 billion and is expected to double in the next decade, according to industry figures. Drones can cost millions of dollars for the most sophisticated varieties to as little as $300 for one that can be piloted from an iPhone.
Note: For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For more on the threats to civil liberties created by this new law, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.
Can Congress Steal Your Constitutional Freedoms?
2011-12-01, Fox News
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:21:08
Can the president use the military to arrest anyone he wants, keep that person away from a judge and jury, and lock him up for as long as he wants? In the Senate’s dark and terrifying vision of the Constitution, he can. Last week ... the Senate Armed Services Committee decided to meet in secret. Behind closed doors, it drafted an amendment to a bill appropriating money for the Pentagon. The amendment would permit the president to use the military for law enforcement purposes in the United States. Essentially, this legislation would enable the president to divert from the criminal justice system, and thus to divert from the protections of the Constitution, any person he pleases. And that person, under this terrifying bill, would have no recourse to a judge to require the president either to file charges against him or to set him free. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Note, the Founders used the word “person.” Thus, the requirement of due process must be accorded to all human beings held by the government -- not just Americans, not just nice people, but all persons. If this legislation becomes law, it will be dangerous for anyone to be right when the government is wrong. It will be dangerous for all of us. Just consider what any president could get away with. Who would he make disappear first? Might it be his political opponents? Might it be you?
Note: The author of this op-ed, Andrew P. Napolitano, is a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. His most recent book is It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.
The US schools with their own police
2012-01-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-02-07 16:56:20
More and more US schools have police patrolling the corridors. Pupils are being arrested for throwing paper planes and failing to pick up crumbs from the canteen floor. Why is the state criminalising normal childhood behaviour? Like hundreds of schools in the state, and across large parts of the rest of the US, Fulmore Middle [school] has its own police force with officers in uniform who carry guns to keep order in the canteens, playgrounds and lessons. Each day, hundreds of schoolchildren appear before courts in Texas charged with offences such as swearing, misbehaving on the school bus or getting in to a punch-up in the playground. Children have been arrested for possessing cigarettes, wearing "inappropriate" clothes and being late for school. In 2010, the police gave close to 300,000 "Class C misdemeanour" tickets to children as young as six in Texas for offences in and out of school, which result in fines, community service and even prison time. What was once handled with a telling-off by the teacher or a call to parents can now result in arrest and a record that may cost a young person a place in college or a job years later. "We've taken childhood behaviour and made it criminal," said Kady Simpkins, a lawyer. "They're kids." The very young are not spared. Texas records show more than 1,000 tickets were issued to primary schoolchildren over the past six years .
Note: For a long list of bizarre arrests of children, for behavior not at all unusual, that have been reported in the mainstream media, click here.
10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free
2012-01-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2012-01-27 10:38:55
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of [the] free. Yet ... in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. [Yet] the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit. These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country. The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11: 1. Assassination of U.S. citizens. 2. Indefinite detention. 3. Arbitrary justice. 4. Warrantless searches. 5. Secret evidence. 6. War crimes. 7. Secret court. 8. Immunity from judicial review. 9. Continual monitoring of citizens. 10. Extraordinary renditions.
Note: Thank you to the Washington Post for publishing this amazing article revealing the disturbing and severe erosion of freedom and civil liberties in the U.S. ever since 9/11. Written by Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University in the nation's capital, this incisive essay lays bare what so many citizens don't know, and what many don't even want to know. Yet, in this case, ignorance is not bliss. Don't miss the full article listing the loss of 10 important civil liberties at this link.
North Carolina sterilisation victims win compensation
2012-01-11, BBC News
Posted: 2012-01-17 15:31:13
Victims of a decades-old sterilisation programme in the US state of North Carolina are to receive $50,000 each in compensation. As many as 7,600 people were sterilised by the state from 1929 to 1974, often without their knowledge. About half a dozen states have apologised for similar programmes, but North Carolina is the only one to consider financial payment. The figure will have to be approved as part of the state's next budget. The sterilisation victims were sometimes mentally disabled or institutionalised people. However, a task force set up by North Carolina found that starting the 1950s the state increasingly focussed its programme - which the task force dubbed a "eugenics" programme - on welfare recipients. This led to a "dramatic rise of sterilisation for African-Americans and women that did not reside in state institutions". Dr Laura Gerald, the head of the task force, said in a statement that the compensation served to send the message that "we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights". North Carolina has so far verified 72 sterilisation victims, but about 2,000 are estimated to still be alive.
Note: For a detailed timeline of disturbing experiments where humans were used as guinea pigs without their knowledge with links to reliable sources for verification, click here.
The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty
2012-01-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-01-10 12:58:25
President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. The White House told citizens that the president would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. [But] sponsor Senator Carl Levin ... went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House [that] insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision. The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the constitution. The White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying the president as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or, as Obama maintains, a reluctant president with dictatorial powers. Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this un-American measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who, they insist, betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents.
Note: For important analyses of the implications of Obama's signing of the NDAA legislation, click here, here and here.
Parade ordinance power grab
2012-01-02, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2012-01-10 12:55:55
A City Hall rewrite to tighten rules for protesters at this spring's gathering of international leaders in Chicago would also place permanent and little-publicized restrictions on all future demonstrations. Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the changes to the city's parade ordinance in his December request to the City Council for expanded powers to deal with the NATO and G-8 summits, set to overlap between May 19-21. The mayor said his request for new spending authority and additional restrictions on public gatherings "is temporary and it's just for the conference and it's appropriate." But the mayor's office now acknowledges the protest rules would be permanent. And a closer look at Emanuel's proposals reveals a series of changes to arcane parade regulations that would be accompanied by a large boost in fines for violations — from the current $50 for some to a minimum $1,000 per violation. Stiffening rules on typically fluid demonstrations will increase the likelihood of violations, giving police more opportunity to crack down and making it more costly for demonstrators, free speech advocates said. "It's clear the more stringent the provisions, the more numerous, the greater the difficulty in complying with those provisions," said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
Note: For those who may have forgotten Rahm Emanuel is Obama's former chief of staff.
FBI tracking videotapers as terrorists?
2011-12-29, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2012-01-03 18:15:44
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has recommended for many years that animal activists who carry out undercover investigations on farms could be prosecuted as domestic terrorists.
New documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by activist Ryan Shapiro show the FBI advising that activists – including Shapiro – who walked onto a farm, videotaped animals there and “rescued” an animal had violated terrorism statutes. The documents ... were issued by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2003 in response to an article in an animal rights publication in which Shapiro and two other activists (whose names were redacted from the document), openly claimed responsibility for shooting video and taking animals from a farm. The FBI notes discuss the videotaping, illegal entry and the removal of animals, then concludes with “there is a reasonable indication that [Subject 1] and other members of the [redacted] have violated the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, 18 USC Section 43 (a).” The penalties for such a conviction can include terrorism enhancements which can add decades to a sentence. “It’s simply outrageous to consider civil disobedience as terrorism,” Shapiro [said]. “Civil disobedience is not terrorism. It has a long and proud place in our nation’s history, from Martin Luther King to Occupy Wall Street, and the [Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act] takes that kind of advocacy that we celebrate from the civil rights movement and turns it into a terrorist event.”
Note: As the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act shows, the animal experimentation lobby has demonstrated its considerable clout by getting Congress to pass legislation making principled demonstrations against animal torture and killing into a form of "terrorism". Do you think that Wall Street might lobby for a similar law making "terrorists" out of Occupiers?
After Struggle on Detainees, Obama Signs Defense Bill
2012-01-01, New York Times
Posted: 2012-01-03 18:12:57
President Obama, after objecting to provisions of a military spending bill that would have forced him to try terrorism suspects in military courts ... signed the bill on [New Year's Eve]. The White House had said that the legislation could lead to an improper military role in overseeing detention and court proceedings and could infringe on the president’s authority in dealing with terrorism suspects. But it said that Mr. Obama could interpret the statute in a way that would preserve his authority. The president, for example, said that he would never authorize the indefinite military detention of American citizens, because “doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.” He also said he would reject a “rigid across-the-board requirement” that suspects be tried in military courts rather than civilian courts. Congress dropped a provision in the House version of the bill that would have banned using civilian courts to prosecute those suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda. It also dropped a new authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda and its allies. Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, still oppose the law, in part because of its authorization of military detention camps overseas.
Note: This New York Times article amazingly fails to mention that civil liberties groups oppose this law primarily because it eliminates habeus corpus, Posse Comitatus and Bill of Rights protections, and enables the military to arrest and imprison American citizens on American soil and subject them to military tribunals without due judicial process. These protections are what Pres. Obama was referring to when he mentioned "our most important traditions and values as a nation." Is his statement that he will not use the new powers the law gives him sufficiently reassuring?
Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?
2011-12-18, New York Times
Posted: 2011-12-27 11:16:23
When I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom. One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were ... enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, "Get on the ground!" Then I was on the ground - with a gun pointed at me. In the spring of 2008, N.Y.P.D. officers stopped and frisked me, again. I was stopped again in September of 2010. It was the same routine: I was stopped, frisked, searched, ID'd and let go. For a black man in his 20s like me, it's just a fact of life in New York. Here are a few other facts: last year, the N.Y.P.D. recorded more than 600,000 stops; 84 percent of those stopped were blacks or Latinos. Police are far more likely to use force when stopping blacks or Latinos than whites. These stops are part of a larger, more widespread problem - a racially discriminatory system of stop-and-frisk in the N.Y.P.D. The police use the excuse that they're fighting crime to continue the practice, but no one has ever actually proved that it reduces crime or makes the city safer. Those of us who live in the neighborhoods where stop-and-frisks are a basic fact of daily life don't feel safer as a result.
Note: For key reports on government threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.
Local police stockpile high-tech, combat-ready gear
2011-12-21, NPR/Center for Investigative Reporting
Posted: 2011-12-27 11:12:33
If terrorists ever target Fargo, N.D., the local police will be ready. In recent years, they have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets, like those used by soldiers in foreign wars. For local siege situations requiring real firepower, police there can use a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. Until that day, however, the menacing truck is mostly used for training runs and appearances at the annual Fargo picnic, where it’s been displayed near a children’s bounce house. Fargo, like thousands of other communities in every state, has been on a gear-buying spree with the aid of more than $34 billion in federal government grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The federal grant spending, awarded with little oversight from Washington, has fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations in Fargo and in departments across the country. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and equipment. A review of records from 41 states obtained through open-government requests, and interviews with more than two-dozen current and former police officials and terrorism experts, shows police departments around the U.S. have transformed into small army-like forces. Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles.
Note: For lots more on the militarization of US police from reliable sources, click here and here.
Protests Boost Sales and Fears of Sonic Blaster
2011-12-12, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2011-12-20 17:47:39
Rather than batons or rubber bullets, some police departments have started using an intense beam of sound to manage protesters, but the annoying tone has drawn criticism from some who say it can cause permanent damage. More U.S. police and emergency-response agencies are using the so-called Long-Range Acoustic Devices ... for crowd control. The leading manufacturer, LRAD Corp. of San Diego, said the product was developed as a nonlethal option for military use. Some people who have been on the receiving end call the devices "sound cannons." A woman is suing the city of Pittsburgh claiming the piercing tone from a police blaster during the 2009 G-20 summit permanently damaged her hearing. There were reports that New York City police used the punishing tone on protesters. The devices were developed for the U.S. Navy. They have also been used to deter pirates from attacking cruise ships. The products range from a 15-pound, battery-operated, hand-held unit to a 320-pound device with a range of nearly 2 miles. Even the smallest unit, the LRAD 100X, emits as much as 137 decibels at 1 meter, which is louder than a jet takeoff at 100 meters.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on so-called "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial
2011-12-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-12-20 17:42:18
Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay. Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of "a war that appears to have no end". The law ... effectively extends the battlefield in the "war on terror" to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention. The law's critics describe it as a draconian piece of legislation that extends the reach of detention without trial to include US citizens arrested in their own country. "It's something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent."
Note: The implications of the passage of this bill to authorize the US military to carry out domestic arrest and imprisonment of US citizens have hardly been reported on by the major media. The defense authorization bill undermines protections established by the Bill of Rights and the Posse Comitatus Act against use of US military forces in domestic control and arrest. For further analysis of the implications of this legislation, click here and here.
Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front
2011-12-10, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2011-12-20 17:40:42
Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in [eastern North Dakota]. He called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone. Sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare. But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said. The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the country's northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public acknowledgment or debate.
Note: "Looking for six cows," the Sheriff called in "a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone." Does that sound like a reasonable response to the problem of missing cows? Or could there be an agenda to establish aerial surveillance by drones as the norm in the US?
Senate rejects effort to strip detainee provision
2011-11-29, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Posted: 2011-12-06 11:50:34
The Senate on Tuesday rejected an effort to strip divisive provisions from a defense bill that deal with the capture and handling of suspected terrorists. “The provisions would dramatically change broad counterterrorism efforts by requiring law enforcement officials to step aside and ask the Department of Defense to take on a new role they are not fully equipped for and do not want,’’ said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who added that the legislation would make the military “police, judge and jailer.’’ His amendment would have taken out the sections on detainees and instead called for congressional hearings with Pentagon and administration officials on the issue. The bill would require military custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates. The vote came shortly after the weekly Republican and Democratic policy luncheons. A guest at the Republican session was former Vice President Dick Cheney, an advocate for harsh interrogation tactics against suspected U.S. enemies during his two terms in office. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller have spelled out their opposition in letters to lawmakers. Mueller said Monday that because the legislation applies to people detained in the United States, it could disrupt ongoing international terrorism investigations.
Note: The implications of the Senate's vote to authorize the US military to carry out domestic arrest and imprisonment of US citizens have hardly been reported on by the major media. The defense authorization bill passed by the Senate undermines protections established by the Bill of Rights and the Posse Comitatus Act against use of US military forces in domestic control and arrest. The ACLU has issued an analysis; for further analysis of the implications of this legislation, click here and here.
The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy
2011-11-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-11-29 11:28:03
The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality. US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests. I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the reasons why people nationwide are occupying their city centers in protest against the collusion between powerful corporate and government elites, click here.
News Organizations Complain About Treatment During Protests
2011-11-21, New York Times
Posted: 2011-11-29 11:26:27
A cross-section of 13 news organizations in New York City lodged complaints ... about the New York Police Department’s treatment of journalists covering the Occupy Wall Street movement. Separately, ten press clubs, unions and other groups that represent journalists called for an investigation and said they had formed a coalition to monitor police behavior going forward. [The] actions were prompted by a rash of incidents on Nov. 15, when police officers impeded and even arrested reporters during and after the evictions of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of the two-month-old movement. The news organizations said in a joint letter to the Police Department that officers had clearly violated their own procedures by threatening, arresting and injuring reporters and photographers. The letter said there were “numerous inappropriate, if not unconstitutional, actions and abuses” by the police against both “credentialed and noncredentialed journalists in the last few days.” The letter was written by George Freeman, vice president and assistant general counsel for The New York Times Company, and signed by representatives for The Associated Press, The New York Post, The Daily News, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones & Company, and three local television stations, WABC, WCBS and WNBC. It was also signed by representatives for the National Press Photographers Association, New York Press Photographers Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the New York Press Club.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the reasons why people nationwide are occupying their city centers in protest against the collusion between powerful corporate and government elites, click here.